Supermarket chains statewide will implement more rules to separate shoppers based on tougher restrictions ordered Sunday in Norwalk to battle the coronavirus.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to make sure people are safe,” said Wayne Pesce, who runs the West Hartford-based Connecticut Food Association, an industry group that promotes retail grocers and their suppliers.

Pesce, after consulting Monday afternoon with several of his members, such as Big Y, ShopRite and Stop & Shop, said all agreed to halve the maximum occupancy of their stores and ask families to send only one representative to do the household shopping.

The new policies mimic ones announced by Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling Sunday to try to enforce even more social-distancing in that city, where the number of diagnosed virus cases had surged to 226 with five deaths.

“I understand that families, especially those with young children, are experiencing cabin fever staying at home,” Rilling had said. “However, taking the entire family out to a store to get out of the house during the outbreak is unnecessarily dangerous to both your family and everyone else in the store.”

Pesce said he discussed the measures over the weekend with Rilling and state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, and while his association was supportive, stores preferred a more consistent statewide approach.

“We’d rather have it on a state level than go town by town,” Pesce said. “From our perspective it gets really difficult when the mayor of Stamford decides, ‘We should be doing something in Stamford as well,’ and it’s not exactly the same thing they’re doing in Norwalk.”

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, during his daily live Facebook address on the pandemic Monday, suggested he may this week announce restriction similar to those in Norwalk.

“That’s a good idea,” Ganim said of Rilling’s approach. “I’m trying to keep pace again with best practices … I know it’s hard, especially if you’re a senior and carrying a lot of stuff.”

Rilling on Sunday said exemptions would be made for single parents, caregivers and other situations where it is not feasible to leave a person at home.

In contrast to big city Democratic elected officials such as Rilling and Ganim, Orange First Selectman James Zeoli, a Republican, said, “Last I checked I was not in charge of grocery stores.”

“I have not experienced crowding or shopping difficulties. They are having far more problems down in lower Fairfield County and I can understand trying anything to held stop or slow the spread,” Zeoli said.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, also a Republican, on Monday said limiting the number of people per household who may do the shopping is a good idea, but challenging to enforce.

“I can see why people would want to do that,” Boughton said. “My question is: how do you police that? Who enforces that? You’re on private property and you can’t put a cop or cops at every supermarket in the city.”

Danbury has at least 10 major supermarkets in addition to smaller, corner stores, Boughton said. He said the city has been reaching out to owners individually to encourage them to reduce overcrowding, and that Trader Joe’s has limited the number of people who can be inside at once.

Pesce said customer cooperation will be imperative, particularly when it comes to the designated family shopper rule.

“There’s no way a retailer is going to be able to enforce it,” he said.

In the case of reducing store capacity, Pesce said, certain markets may cut back on shopping carts.

“We know how many people are in a store (at the same time) based on the carts,” Pesce said. “So when we run out of carts to get into the store, you might potentially need to wait for a cart.”

But Pesce also emphasized he did not expect that would result in long lines. He said the so-called panic buying that resulted in packed supermarkets a few weeks ago has subsided.

“This is not going to cause long lines every day in the stores. It’s not,” Pesce said.

Duff believed having uniform shopping rules all around the state during the pandemic would be for the best.

“Fairfield County right now is the hot zone but we’re going to see over the next few weeks the virus will continue to spread over the state and we need better safeguards for people who are out and about shopping or doing things for their families,” Duff said.

Pesce in an interview earlier Monday had suggested his association would approach Gov. Ned Lamont about issuing an executive order about the new guidelines. But later in the day Pesce said that was not necessary.

“Everybody’s waiting to see the results and how well people are doing social-distancing,” Pesce said. “I don’t think we need a governor’s edict.”

Rilling’s order was intended not just to apply to the supermarkets, but to other retailers such as Home Depot and pharmacies.

Timothy Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, also spoke with Rilling and Duff over the weekend. Phelan represents large brands, including Home Depot, Rite-Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Costco and Target. He said his members in Norwalk “are doing everything they can to make sure they’re abiding by (Rilling’s order) and doing the best for their customers and their employees.”

But, Phelan said, the Merchants Association was not yet at the point of applying the Norwalk model across Connecticut.

“I can only tell you my members are constantly reviewing the situations in their stores and are constantly updating and evolving their policies,” Phelan said. But he noted if other municipalities follow Norwalk’s lead then a statewide approach would be preferable.

“It’s always better when you have a system wide set of rules to go by .. than having to make each individual town come up with their own,” Phelan said.

Pesce said there also was talk in Norwalk about making store aisles one-way, but that there was no agreement among supermarkets about whether to universally adopt that policy as well.

“Some retailers have gone and done it. Others have said, ‘We’re not sure we want to create that confusion in our stores because we can’t police it and nothing tells us it works,’” Pesce said.

Tom Cingari, Sr., whose family operates ShopRite supermarkets in Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury, said he was on his hands and knees Monday morning helping the manager of his Norwalk location affix blue tape to the floors to steer customers one way.

“We’re experimenting with it (at that Norwalk site),” Cingari said. “It came up in conversations and if it helps, and we see positive results that it’s working toward the goals that were intended, of course we’ll roll it out.”

Meghan Bell, a spokesperson for Stew Leonard’s, said that supermarket chain’s Norwalk location will “monitor customer flow, particularly during peak hours, to ensure that we are in compliance with the city.”

“Our team members are also moving center-aisle displays so that there is more room in the aisle for our shoppers,” Bell added. “We have put physical markings on the store’s floor to encourage social distancing while shoppers are at the service bars and at check out.”

In New Haven, Nica’s Market, a small grocer, began restricting the number of customers a few weeks ago to 10 at a time.

“Please take turns to go inside during busy times,” reads a sign at the front door. “Be safe and stay healthy.”

On Monday, every minute or two a customer would tentatively approach the front door. Periodically a Nica’s employee came out and said, “It’s OK, you can go in now.”

“A lot of our customers are pleased that we’re doing our best to keep people safe,” said Marisol Ortega, the store supervisor.

She noted Nica’s is also offering curbside pick-up for customers who call in their orders and “don’t feel comfortable coming in.”

Ortega said “sometimes it’s tricky” for the employees to monitor everybody who wants to come inside. “Every 20 minutes or so we’re cleaning all the surfaces. At that time we also do a count on the number of customers who are inside.”

Reporters Randall Beach, Julia Perkins, Pam McLoughlin and Alex Soule contributed to this story.